Queen’s relatives died in horror crash while on safari holiday in South Africa

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Queen’s relatives, a mother and her 12-year-old daughter were killed in a head-on car crash while on holiday in South Africa, an inquest heard.

Her husband Alistair Sword, 53, who works in financial marketing and their son Benjamin, 11, were both cut from the wreckage of their car before being airlifted from the road to hospital.

The 60-year-old driver of the Mercedes died at the scene.

The family lived at Glebe House in the tiny Sussex village of Lurgashall near Petworth.

Coroner’s Officer John Halloran said: “The family were on holiday in South Africa, on safari.

“They were travelling on the N2 freeway, heading back to their lodge in a Toyota Fortuna people carrier style vehicle.

“The weather was dry and there was good visibility,” Mr Halloran said.

A Hyundai travelling in the opposite direction had a rear tyre blow-out, the inquest heard.

The female driver began to slow down without activating hazard lights and a Mercedes travelling behind swerved into the oncoming Sword family car, clipping the Hyundai.

The driver of the Mercedes died at the scene.

“Tabitha was sitting in the middle rear seat,” Mr Halloran said.

“It was not confirmed if she was wearing seatbelt.”

Mrs Sword suffered injuries consistent with being in a road accident and wearing a seatbelt, the inquest heard.

She was airlifted to the Ethekwini Hospital in Durban where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

South African crash investigators said all four vehicles were in good condition.

They believed the tyre blow-out was not the cause of the crash.

Senior Coroner for West Sussex, Penelope Schofield, described the horror smash as a tragedy.

“They were having a family safari holiday. Sadly, on August 10, they were involved in a head on collision with another vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the road.

“The Mercedes didn’t notice the Hyundai was slowing down or coming to a stop and took evasive action not knowing what was coming in the opposite direction.

“Tabitha sadly died at the scene and her mother was dead on arrival at hospital.

“We would offer our sincere condolences to the family for the sad lost in most tragic circumstances.

“This was a family on holiday, leaving the survivors of the crash without a mother and a sister.

“I will record they died as a result of a road traffic collision,” the coroner said.

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